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Crisis deepens as Israeli forces intensify Gaza offensive

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Israeli forces intensified their military operations in northern and central Gaza, following a devastating airstrike on a tent encampment that Palestinian officials reported had killed over two dozen individuals.

As the conflict entered its ninth month, diplomatic efforts to broker a ceasefire were set to resume in Doha.

Israeli military operations escalated with the distribution of leaflets over Gaza City, this time highlighting “safe routes” for a comprehensive evacuation. The leaflets directed civilians to move southward along two corridors leading to the central Gaza Strip. This move marks a significant escalation in the ongoing conflict, which has already seen extensive civilian casualties and displacement.

The airstrike that struck a tent encampment in Abassan, east of Khan Younis in southern Gaza, claimed the lives of at least 29 people, predominantly women and children, according to Palestinian medical officials. The Israeli military acknowledged the incident, stating it was investigating reports of civilian harm and noting the strike targeted a Hamas fighter involved in the October 7th raid on Israel.

Israeli forces deepened their incursion into Gaza City districts, conducting house-to-house searches and deploying tanks to shell residential buildings. According to local residents, Israeli snipers took positions on rooftops of high-rise buildings, and tanks were stationed within the headquarters of the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA. The Israeli military claimed its operations targeted militants from Hamas and Islamic Jihad, who had allegedly used UNRWA facilities as operational bases.

The Palestinian Red Crescent reported receiving numerous distress calls from Gaza City residents trapped in their homes due to the relentless bombardment. “The information coming from Gaza City shows residents are living through tragic conditions,” the organization stated, highlighting the severe humanitarian crisis unfolding in the enclave.

The armed wings of Hamas and Islamic Jihad confirmed engaging Israeli forces with anti-tank rockets, mortar bombs, and close-range combat. In the central Gaza camp of Al-Nuseirat, an airstrike killed six Palestinians, including children, while another strike in Khan Younis resulted in additional casualties.

Since the conflict erupted on October 7, following a deadly infiltration by Hamas militants into southern Israel, over 38,000 Palestinians have been killed, according to Gaza health officials. The initial raid resulted in 1,200 Israeli deaths and the abduction of approximately 250 hostages, as per Israeli sources.

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